The above question was proffered to me by a thirteen year old in all sincerity. Up until that point, we had simply been building a computer. Our discussion had consisted solely of what the various parts were and what they did, and out of nowhere this question gets lobbed at me like a fly ball you never see coming until it’s inches away from your face. Fortunately, I’m the baseball metaphor equivalent of a highly trained ninja.
“Uhm… You mean like…?” (I know! I nailed it!)
“Spiritually speaking. I… Have a friend. He asked me once and I haven’t quite figured that one out yet.”
“Huh… (I’m on fire!) Well…”
And I realized that despite the fact that “Why are we here?” should have been covered in “being human 101”, I didn’t have an answer immediately available. My brain started spinning and stringing together a response, and slowly I began to see a framework being formed. However, moments had passed and my young friend’s probing eyes refused to bore into anything else. In an attempt to relieve this tension, my brow furrowed, my lips slid over to one side of my face, and I said “hrmmmm…” in as helpful a manner I could.
So… why are we born? Why am I me, and not someone else? Why are you, you? I know the various thoughts on the matter… Nature versus Nurture and Birth Order and such, but take all of that away. Looking down into the little ticks and beats of who you are, why are they aligned in such a manner? Happenstance? Is it just a numbers game? A spin of the roulette wheel determines all your quirks and idiosyncrasies? I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that idea. There’s too much good in my life for it to be an accident.
I feel pretty good about the answer I eventually gave. I told him that I believe that our passions and the things we care the most about aren’t an accident. I think that God plants the seeds for the things we love, and our life waters those seeds until they bloom into full grown hobbies and professions.
But tonight… I think maybe I only told half the story. My wife and I have been reading “Love Wins” by Rob Bell. The book is extremely controversial because Bell essentially points out the fact that a lot of what we believe about heaven and hell isn’t necessarily based on Biblical scripture and is instead tradition. Doubter that I am, I’ve been secretly pondering these things since 2007 when I wrote a term paper on the origin of Satan and found that the basis for which we base the entire notion is perilously thin. Regardless, In the book Bell puts forth the notion that perhaps it’s the duty of the Christian to be proactive about bringing heaven to Earth, rather than simply waiting to die.
At my church, when the message is over, the speaker says “Shalom” to the congregation, and they say it back. Shalom is a Hebrew word that essentially is wishing the wholeness and restoration of God’s presence into the life of the recipient. Tonight, this idea and the above finally came together in such a way that I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a truth that was hidden right in front of me:
We were created to spread Shalom. In every word we say, the goal should be to speak restoration into the life of the person hearing it. In every action we take, the goal should be to heal the damaged. When the epiphany struck, I suddenly understood why I should care about global warming and occupy wall street and the homeless and hurting and the dying. Because they’re broken. They are imperfect. And I have been called as a Christian, and I think, as a human, to do whatever is in my power to bring Shalom to these things.In doing so, we’re bringing pieces of heaven, that eternal, infinite realm of constant joy and exploration into our own world. Everything around us can be made holy.
And this kind of brings us back to my initial response… I believe God gave us particular skills and talents that fulfill us when we use them… And figuring out how to use them to heal the wounded world and the hurting humanity around us is our highest calling. For me, I think that means creating content and (soon) videos that hopefully help people figure out their own lives. What about you? What passions and hobbies do you have that could strip the veil between heaven and Earth?